PowerSchool Announces New Analytics Tool to Help Schools Address the Growing Student Learning Gap

(Image credit: PowerSchool)

PowerSchool announced its new Unified Insights Student Learning release, a first–of–its–kind tool, giving educators a holistic view into data they’ll need to help ensure all students can stay on track following the shift to distance learning. 

This new tool is part of the PowerSchool Unified Insights family of products and brings together data from PowerSchool’s Student Information System (SIS) and Schoology Learning Management System (LMS) to help users of these solutions better understand a whole view of their students. The analytics will help educators make informed decisions about broader gaps districtwide and provide teachers the help they need to support individual student learning paths.

PowerSchool, who a partner sponsor of Tech & Learning's "Lunch and Learn" leadership virtual roundtables, has a unique perspective on the remote learning environment. Here’s some what they've seen during this shift: 

- A significant increase in students, parents, and teachers actively engaging to drive learning outcomes through distance learning. For example, during this time the Schoology LMS saw over one trillion student interactions, a 400% increase from the same time last year. 

- This included 145 million assessments, and a huge increase in course materials, assignments and discussions. For districts with more advanced blended learning models who were already using Schoology, the company saw up to 95% student participation. 

- An early sign of the learning gap, however, is how engagement varies. Many districts were not as prepared to implement and scale their distance learning initiatives. When looking at the national landscape of all customers using the Schoology LMS, the average participation is considerably lower with an average of just 52% of students participating. 

“Even with all the phenomenal efforts districts and educators have done to drive increased student engagement and participation, it’s evident that the learning gap is widening across the majority of schools and that educators will need to be prepared to identify and address those gaps,” said PowerSchool CEO Hardeep Gulati. “Most districts and teachers don’t have a holistic view into student data, making it difficult to provide the instruction each student needs, and we’re working to change that with these analytics.”   

Unified Insights Student Learning was sparked by input from school leaders and teachers across the nation who approached PowerSchool with their concerns regarding these gaps. The new tool builds on the work PowerSchool has done to help districts across the country make the sudden shift to distance learning and use data to make better, more informed decisions. 

This release will help schools and districts to: 

  • Understand the adoption levels, engagement, and effectiveness of distance learning initiatives at a district, school, grade, course, and even a student-level 
  • Identify any gaps in equity, access or distance learning engagement by demographics, socio–economic level, and/or special education status so districts can better assist in delivering equitable access to distance learning resources
  • Identify at-risk students with learning and achievement gaps that have resulted from low engagement and require intervention planning
  • Strengthen initiatives tied to social and emotional learning by identifying trends in student participation and interaction
  • Ensure that all staff including teachers benefit from the same access to data as they strive to understand the “whole student” while creating and delivering personalized learning experiences

“We’ve never before had the ability to combine LMS data with core SIS data in this way including ethnicity, attendance, IEP status, health information, standards mastery, and more. Being able to visualize these trends in the data with an industry leading analytics tool will be critical as we close this academic year and look toward the next, ensuring we keep kids on track,” said Tony Harvey, CIO, Muncie Community Schools. “This is data I need and would use all the time to help students reach their potential, not just in this time of the COVID-19 crisis.”  

PowerSchool Unified Insights™ Student Learning will be available initially to customers who have both Schoology Learning and PowerSchool SIS on June 1. You can see a demo of the new Unified Insights Student Learning at www.powerschool.com/unifiedinsights-studentlearning-demo.